Fianna Fáil Deputy Michael McGrath, a member of the Banking Inquiry, has asked that the former President of the European Central Bank, Jean Claude Trichet, be written to and asked to respond to evidence given to the Inquiry this week by Finance Minister Michael Noonan about a telephone conversation between the two men on 31 March 2011.
Deputy McGrath stated, “Minister Michael Noonan told the Banking Inquiry this week that, in a telephone conversation with Jean Claude Trichet on 31 March 2011, Mr Trichet told him that ‘a bomb would go off in Dublin’ if the government proceeded to pledge to burn senior bondholders in their Banking Statement due in the Dáil that afternoon.
“In his engagement with the Inquiry in 30 April last, Mr Trichet, under questioning, denied that the government had been threatened, and said the ECB ‘simply gave advice to the government’ on burning senior bondholders. On the specific comment that ‘a bomb will go off in Dublin’, he made what appears to be a contradictory statement when he said ‘I will certainly have utilised metaphor of that kind……..would have been totally not in line with the relationship I had with the government.’ It is now vital that this issue is clarified given the seriousness of the issue at hand.
“The Inquiry is now planning to write to witnesses to respond to apparent contradictions arising from recent evidence given at the Inquiry and to give witnesses the opportunity to clarify the evidence they gave. I have therefore requested that the Inquiry formally write to Mr Trichet to ask him to address the apparent contradictions between his evidence and that of Minister Noonan, and to clarify any matters arising from Minister Noonan’s evidence.
“Given the key role of the ECB on the question of burden sharing during Ireland’s banking crisis, it is essential that these matters are fully clarified in order that the final report of the Inquiry can be as accurate and comprehensive as possible.”